Using the benefits that the military provides for education assistance has been made easier in recent years. The Montgomery GI bill has a Top Up Program to help supplement the funds that are made available for tuition and fees. The amount that is realized can be equal to the amount that is not funded by existing benefit programs, such as tuition assistance.
First, you have to select a school that has Veterans Affairs approved programs. Most public universities and colleges are VA approved, but it is an important first step to make sure before you apply. You can request free information from the VA or look on the Internet to get information regarding these programs. After you select a school that is VA approved then you have to apply for the Top Up program.
To be declared eligible for the Top Up Benefit, you have to be eligible and approved for Montgomery GI Bill benefits, and approved for tuition federal assistance. Most often this means you have to be an active MGIB participant serving on active duty and that you have served at least 24 months consecutively. The Top Up benefit is designed to supplement the amount of tuition assistance you receive, and are designed to make up the difference between the actual potential cost of a course and the amount you actually receive. This can sometimes be quite a shortfall, and this is why the Top Up program was introduced.
The total amount available from either tuition assistance, or the MGIB Top up program, either single or combined cannot equal more than the total cost of the course. If you do receive the Top Up benefit your eventual regular GI Benefits will be reduced a like amount.
The Top Up benefit is available at the current time for GI Bill participants on Active Duty. It is not available for the Selected Reserve program at the current time. The Top Up program is available for all courses after October 2000.
The Top up Program is a great deal if you are an Active Duty Servicemember pursuing a degree program and you do not want to continue your education after active duty, or if you will be completing your education while you are on active duty. It is also a valuable program if you only want to take a few programs while on Active duty.
The Top Up Program is limited to 36 months payment usage while on active duty.